Hillsborough disaster anniversary: heartbreaking loss, but 23 years later the game is better for the response


It has been 23 years exactly since the game changed forever in England.

Such a terrible shame that it took heartbreaking loss to force much-needed action in the way supporters watch soccer there.

On April 15, 1989, a total of 96 people died because they went to a match to support their team. The Hillsborough disaster of that awful day still reverberates so meaningfully.

Ninety-four fans died at the site during the notorious FA Cup semifinal. A 14-year-old boy died four days later and yet another supporter died four years later, having been in a coma the entire time. In total, 766 people were injured.

A subsequent inquiry into the horror by Lord Justice Taylor blamed police decisions and crowd control failures at a devastating level. The Taylor Report simultaneously provided cathartic vindication, following initial reports that cruelly attached blame onto “drunkenness” among Liverpool supporters.

But from all those awful events did come some good. As England’s Guardian explains:

Hillsborough and its consequences changed forever the way supporters watched football in England. Taylor’s report condemned the primitive conditions in which spectators were expected to watch their teams. The result was a dramatic switch to all-seat stadiums and the abolition of perimeter fences which, as Hillsborough demonstrated, could turn grounds into death traps when people had no means of escape.”

A comprehensive report on the events of Hillsborough Stadium from The Guardian is here. (The story is from 2009, on Hillsborough’s 20th anniversary.)

And a terrific, revealing graphic from the BBC helps demonstrate exactly how things went wrong, how tragic decisions that day created a crush of fans into one small area.

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
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Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.

Mourinho “working like never before” to turn Chelsea around

Jose Mourinho, Chelsea FC
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Jose Mourinho got the dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.

Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:

“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.

“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”

What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.

[ MORE: Ozil, Coquelin say Arsenal can win the title this season ]

The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.